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Internet and Smartphones addiction can alter teenage brain

Rayhan Ahmed Topader:

Internet users rapidly increasing and it is become one of the most important topic for the research. As the growing phenomenon of vast browsing of the Internet; now-a-days researchers are trying to identify what are the impacts of heavy Internet usage, specifically for the thought adults.In addition, 30 of them browsing the Internet without any specific reason, 67% of them are male and one more vital issue is that young adults act much like teens in their tendency to use sites, where 72% of them are engaged in social networking, days and nights. During the last two decades, the way we live and the way we work have changed due to the developments in the communication and information industries. The reasons behind this are the wide distribution of computers, whereby communication among people takes place in virtual space, better known as cyberspace. This cyberspace has appeared as a new environment which is basically different from the real world we live in, as it is has linked peoples all over the world, increase efficiency at learning, we can use cyberspace for acquiring and disseminating knowledge in order for further development. Currently, based on the latest data published by Internet World Stats, there are approximately 2 billion people in the world having Internet access. The growth of Internet usage has increased tremendously to 56.4% from year 2000 to 2012. The fastest growing group is the category of adult aged 55 and above, while those in group 18-34 of age represent the most active online users.

Principally, Asia has the highest number of Internet users in the world, approximately 922.3 million, It has been seen as a serious public health issue in certain Asian countries. In Beijing, Shan Xiuyun, a leading judge, has said that 90% of juvenile crime in the Beijing city was Internet-related. According to Chinese Ministry of Health, staying online more than six hours a day and having adverse reactions from not being able to go online are symptoms of Internet addiction disorder. The Governments of China, Japan and South Korea have set up boot camps, to provide therapy to deal with Internet addiction as a result of this. China will begin to ban the opening of new Internet cafes as a government campaign to clamp down on Internet addiction. A number of researches has also been conducted on the impact of Internet addiction  Furthermore, another study has found that 15% of university students in the United States and Europe know that they are somehow addicted to the Internet; yet, there are also some who doubt whether this outcry is justified. Most of the academic research on Internet using impact

Believe it or not, smartphone use can be beneficial for teens. Teens use smartphones to connect with peers, seek help on school assignments, and they can even use apps to help them get organized. Although it might seem like teens are constantly connected, many use their devices within healthy limits.

It’s important to empower teens to take control of their own use of smartphones and create and maintain a healthy balance. This isn’t a one-time conversation.

The GSMA says it is important for all the stakeholders to take action to deliver the significant benefits of mobile and internet to women, their families, communities and the economy. Mobile can be helpful to empower women, making them more connected, safe and able to access information and services.

The research found that smartphone-addicted teens have an abundance of the neurotran smitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain’s emotional control centre, according to lead study author Hyung Suk Seo, a professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in Seoul, who presented at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago on Nov 30. Internet and smartphone-addicted teenagers may have chemical imbalances in the brain that are similar to people experiencing depression and anxiety, said South Korean researchers.GABA is found in everyone’s brain, but too much of the neurotransmitter in the wrong areas can have mentally dulling effects. In a pilot study by think-tank DQ Institute and the Nanyang Technological University conducted in April, children as young as 12 years old spend almost 46 hours a week or over 6.5 hours daily – on a gadget. The same study also found nine-year-olds spending over 24 hours a week, or about 3.5 hours daily, doing the same. Internet addiction, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, is an excessive use of the Internet that impairs everyday life, sleep and relationships. Checking email first thing in the morning or spending an hour scrolling though Instagram after work does not signify an Internet addiction.

The teenagers whose test scores indicated an addiction tended to say that their Internet and smartphone use interfered with their daily routines, social lives, sleep and productivity. These teenagers also had significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia and impulsiveness than the control group. However, due to the study’s small sample size (19 Internet-addicted and 19 non-Internet addicted teens participated), it may be too early to link the teenagers’ chemical imbalances to anxiety and depression, said Max Wintermark, a professor of radiology and the chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University, who was not involved in the study. Further testing on a larger group of people is needed, he said in an online Live Science article. With appropriate intervention, the teens were able to basically correct those chemical changes” in their brains, said Prof Wintermark.That’s the part of the study I find most interesting. It shows there’s hope.The good news is, the chemical imbalance is reversible using cognitive behavioural therapy. This was noted in 12 of the Internet-addicted teens who went through the therapy for nine weeks. According to the researchers, those teens did weekly 75-minute sessions of mindfulness exercises, including recognising Internet impulses, finding alternative activities, and expressing emotions. They are expected to use technology both in and out of the classroom to make the grade, they manage their social lives through various apps and social media platforms, and they use technology to stay organized and on top of their many, many activities.

Today’s teens face intense levels of pressure. Sometimes their phone use is tied to recreational activity and can help them relieve stress, but other times they use their phones to keep up with their busy lives. Ensuring that kids’ technology use doesn’t result in more stress for them isn’t an easy task; there’s no clean-cut way to delete stressful technology activity. So how can parents, let alone kids themselves, navigate the often stressful world of tech? Although there isn’t a recognized “smartphone addiction” diagnosis, it’s natural for parents to wonder if a teen’s apparent obsession with a smartphone qualifies as addictive behavior. After all, it can be incredibly frustrating to attempt to hold a conversation with someone when they can’t peel their eyes away from their phone. Teen Cell Phone Addiction: The Stats As it turns out, parents have reason to worry. Results of a 2016 Common Sense Media Report found that 50 percent of teens “feel addicted” to mobile devices, while 59 percent of parents surveyed believe that kids are addicted to their devices. This survey also showed that 72 percent of teens and 48 percent of parents feel the need to immediately respond to texts, social-networking messages, and other notifications; 69 percent of parents and 78 percent of teens check their devices at least hourly. A 2018 Pew Research Report showed that 45 percent of teens said they use the Internet almost constantly, and another 44 percent said they go online several times a day. According to this report, 50 percent of teenage girls are “near-constant” online users, compared to 39 percent of teenage boys. 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone.

Given that teens use their smartphones for a variety of reasons, both personal and academic (often simultaneously), it helps to focus less on counting the minutes of use and more on how they use their smartphones. Parents hear a lot about the importance of teaching balance, but part of evaluating for a healthy balance lies in understanding how teens actually use their phones and what purpose that use serves them. YouTube, for example, can be both recreational and academic. A 2016 report published in Frontiers in Psychiatry suggests using the DSM-5 criteria for compulsive gambling and substance abuse to measure problematic smartphone use. While problematic smartphone use is not defined as an addiction, it can be evaluated as a behavioral disorder. Nowadays, the most readily available media to students is the internet, which in the name of academic and other purposes have compelled them to use it more. This media has not only become a good source of information regarding knowledge but also for other purposes like social communication, gaming, entertainment, and so on. Students’ nature being more tilted to this enjoyment has enhanced the use of the internet. School students, especially the secondary level students, appear to be the population at risk in having internet addiction due to the variability in developing their cognitive control and boundary-setting skills. Researchers found that students who have severe internet addiction have poor academic performance and mental health problems. Loneliness, staying up late, tiredness, and missing morning classes are also correlated with internet-caused impairment.

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